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Double Standards Still Exist in the Workplace

The Double Standard Is Alive and Well at Work

We’ve already determined that the gender gap hasn’t quite closed — especially at the top, men are continuing to outearn women, sometimes by an alarming amount. But according to New York Times blogger and management coach Peggy Klaus, the wage gap isn’t the only gender issue women face in the workplace today; the good ol' double standard is also still alive and well. To see some examples, keep reading.

In her corporate coaching experience, Klaus claims to have noticed a marked increase in women worrying about being labeled a "bitch," or worse, at work. She attributes it to the recession and the super competitive job market; women feel as if one false move could get them the ax, so they’re playing it safe.

I can’t say I’ve noticed this phenomenon in my current workplace — Sugar HQ tends to be pretty female-centric — but I’ve definitely experienced it in previous ones. One company I worked for had such a strong double standard, I couldn’t voice an opinion without being labeled a "loose cannon," and I felt myself slipping into masculine patterns of speech just to be heard ("Look, Don, I’m gonna give it to you straight here . . ."). Hilarious in hindsight, but rather unpleasant at the time.


How about you? Have you ever experienced double standards for female behavior in your workplace?

Photo courtesy of AMC

Join The Conversation
ShaynaLeah ShaynaLeah 7 years
My issues aren't with being perceived as being cold or unfeeling, etc. My issue is with the handicap we have from the first time we enter the workforce - companies see us as likely to leave the workforce to have children, so from day one they're less likely to invest training, promotions, and other opportunities in us, which makes it nearly impossible to stay competitive with men that enter the workforce with the same education and other qualifications as us. Check out for their report on women MBAs in the workforce - its scary how present the glass ceiling is - and how low.
nyxmoxie nyxmoxie 7 years
I really can't say that I have experienced this. I think sexism exists everywhere no matter what field you're in. I think if you want to be paid well as a woman you have to go into an industry that pays well, I wouldn't go into teaching or social work because of the poor pay. I hope I never experience sexism but if I do, I'll change companies.
curiositykat curiositykat 7 years
Oh yeah, I've definitely experienced this. However, I try to not let it get the best of me. I feel like the victims of sexism, racism, homophobia, etc... let bigotry get the best of them, when really it is the person doing it who has the problem, not them. To let it stress me out so much would just be letting them win and it would also take up too much of my time.
Monique-Marie427757 Monique-Marie427757 7 years
I was the manager of about 20 men and 3 women. I was the only female in any kind of high position. If I didn't start acting like a guy, meaning having to endure nasty rude jokes that were uncalled for to talking like one, meaning I had to be the dominant one in the group, they ate me alive. I had to actually get in their faces and threaten them, otherwise they viewed me as weak and then it was hopeless. Everyday I got home, I found it harder and harder to relax to the point where I was stressed out all the time. I eventually had to quit because it was changing who I was.
magickalrealism magickalrealism 7 years
I've only had serious problems IN female-centric workplaces. It's a weird thing, but I feel like I've been treated much more fairly by men and in male-dominant work places. With women, if you don't fall in with a specific social language, you end up getting vilified every time you leave the break room, but with men, if you're a little out of step, they seem relieved that the pressure is off them to honor your femaleness. Taking that pressure off has rarely gone anywhere that might merit a talk with HR.
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